Boho Chic Hippie Clothes – Plus Size Maxi Dresses (Updated)
by Christina Gregoire
Can you wear a maxi if you’re a plus-sized woman? Yes, maxi dresses are perfect for chubby chicks who are looking for a trendy way to stay comfortable.
Long dress styles are fabulous for every woman who knows the little tricks about how to wear maxi dresses. Even skinny women love the casual feel of bohemian, peasant-style clothing. Boho chic outfits are extremely cute and trendy. So, no more stiflingly tight pencil skirts for me. Hippie dresses are my sexy go-to outfits... because I feel much more like having fun when I can actually breathe.
Big Hippie Chicks in the 60s
Bohemian, gypsy, non-bourgeoisie hippies were very welcoming to overweight women. I know this because I was a very young, skinny “hippie” during the 1960s.
Back in the day, hippies discouraged all people from judging others based upon looks. The true hippie mantra was, “What a person is like on the inside is much more important than what they look like on the outside,” although, in the real world, it was (and still is) difficult to actually follow this rule. All people make snap judgments, whether we like it or not.
However, most hippies tried extremely hard to be nonjudgmental about clothing, weight, nose shape, hairstyle (as long as it was long), ethnicity, and all that other superficial stuff. Hippies certainly didn’t give a flipping hoot about “designer” trends.
Some Guys Like Larger Women
True hippies commonly described big chicks as “Earth Mother” types.
Actually, if a fat chick ever said anything disparaging about her own weight, there was always some guy in the group who would say, “Hey mama, I really like your peaches, wanna shake your tree,” with a wink. And, that meant, ahem… that he found the woman to be sexy and desirable. Actually, there might be lots of men who feel this way about fat women, but they are discouraged by societal norms. Who knows?
Long Dresses for Plus Size Women
Flattering hippie dresses are clothing perfection. Why? Because a good boho dress, without a tight waist, will fit you after you have too many milkshakes, and it will fit you lose weight from a pre-holiday diet blitz.
Also, a stretch-jersey maxi dress is usually an easy thing to buy online, and buying clothing made of jersey is an easy way to get a proper fit. But, be careful not to buy shiny fabrics because shine will highlight every little blip and bulge, while a patterned, matte jersey will help to camouflage fat. (Some shiny dresses and some non-stretchy dresses are worth trying if they are truly beautiful.)
Look for Dresses Without Zippers (whenever possible)
Generally, if you have a choice, get a boho dress without a zip. With zippered dresses, the fabric usually has very little stretch and/or the cut will be too tightly fitted...and who wants that?
The point is comfort, ladies. On the other hand, a gauzy dress with no waistline is also good. If the cut looks loose and comfortable, give the frock a try. I believe that soft ethnic styles look better on curvy females than on skinny twigs.
There are tons of clothing sites for heavy gals. And, thank God for online shopping. Those of us who are no longer skinny can try on clothing in our own bedrooms without public scrutiny. Here are some dresses I like, but look around online to see what you can find... after you finish this article... or after you read some of the other groovy articles from me and my pals.
Okay, chickadees, let's talk about the dresses in the photo above: Plus Size Boho Maxi Dresses.
1. Long Hippie Dress from Asos:
The first dress in the photo is from Asos.com. It's not quite a maxi, but it's a long handkerchief dress in a groovy scarf print. This type of dress was big in the early 70s... and into the Saturday Night disco Fever... when it would have been worn with high-to-the-sky platform shoes. And, even though this dress is not stretchy, it's fun and boho... and way too cute. Also, this vintage style is simple and easy to fit.
2. Hippie Maxi Dress from Bonmarche:
The second maxi dress looks like it's made of stretchy jersey. Use this type of vibrant purple and red dress to shake your blues away. Hey, if you're sick and tired of black plus-size clothing, a dress like this will make you want to get up and boogie... and then cry, "Weee, weee, weee," all the way home. Wearing fun clothes = being happy.
3. Boho Maxi Beach Dress from M&Co:
This painterly red maxi dress is meant for the beach, but that doesn't mean you can't wear it out to dinner. Just make sure you wear a slip if your plans include dancing on the table as the sun comes up.... and you can see through the dress. That's the one issue with wearing beach cover-ups as regular clothes. Well, not all beach dresses are semi-sheer, but I hope you'll double check. And, it's easy to fix a dress if the fabric is as thin as tissue paper. You can either wear something under the dress or over it (like a kimono).
4. Ethnic Tribal Print Dress from M&S:
The last boho-hippie dress above is a mix of ethnic, Asian, paisley, and lace-type prints, but the effect is also slightly tribal with the chevron patterns. It's actually a terrific fusion of styles, and tribal prints are about as boho as you can get. When I was a hippie (yes... I was extremely young... I'm not as ancient as you think) we used to consider ourselves part of a tribal family. I like this dress because it looks stretchy and the pattern is good for camouflaging fatty bulges (not that I would know... hahahaha). Also, the placement of the pattern is flattering for hourglass and pear-shaped women because the focal point falls a bit below the hips. Actually, the pattern should be good for apple shapes as well.
Now, let's talk about the dresses in the photo above: Boho Hippie-Style Maxi Dresses in Plus.
1. Bandeau Crochet Trim Maxi Dress from Asos:
This groovy, navy blue dress will take you back to your inner hippie-chick roots. It's a total knock-off of an early-70s hippie style... worn by hipstresses of all sizes. You can play this dress "casual" as beachwear or you can trick it out with inexpensive (or expensive) boho jewelry and high-heeled sandals for dinner and a classic-rock concert. This style is very flattering if the tier comes to the right place on your body... to give you curves in all the right places.
2. Pink Maxi Kaftan from East:
This pink (or ocean blue) kaftan would be great for a day at the beach on Maui or a dinner on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Clothing at East only goes up to size (US) 18, but the comments say this "dress" runs large, although you should check the measurements. In my experience with kaftans (in general), the only place that could be too small would be the bust and/or the shoulders... but this depends on the cut. Kaftans are lovable garments due to their comfort level, and this type of gown was also BIG during the early 70s, when every woman south of the permafrost zone had at least one Middle-Eastern inspired frock. Glad to see kaftans making a comeback!
3. (Groovy) Plus Abstract Print Maxi Dress from M&S:
I like this type of beach cover-up for apple-shaped women because it has a waterfall (gathered) front that hides a large tummy (somewhat). This maxi is definitely sheer from the hips down, but I can't tell if the whole thing is sheer. Email M&S if you want to wear this as a dress, but even if you have to wear something underneath it, I like this gauzy look for summer because the movement of the dress makes it harder to tell where the contours of your body lie. The only downer is that you'll need to wear this with a strapless swimsuit or bra... but the neckline is so alluring that it's worth the extra effort. Just make sure the narrow, spaghetti straps don't dig into your flesh, making people notice the extra jiggle in your back and shoulders. Another option would be to wear a cheapie wife-beater-style cami under it.
4. Samba Print Maxi Dress from East:
This adorable ethnic-print dress has the look of a cotton "block print", but with the stretch of a jersey. And, that's a perfect combination for those of us who aren't as skinny as we were in the late 60s/early 70s... well, it's a great combination even if you are skinny. Who doesn't like the comfort of stretch or the floatiness of oversized gauze? East only goes up to size (US) 18, so... as always... check the measurements.
Expensive Hippie Dresses
Usually women wear hippie clothing because it’s an inexpensive look, but if you can afford something groovy that looks like it came straight out of San Francisco's vintage days of hippie-trippiness, why not?
- Johnny Was Embroidered Tiered Maxi Dress at Saks (spring 2015): Johnny Was is one of my favorite brands. This dress looks better in person and the detailing is what makes it hot. (The photo doesn't show the beautiful embroidery and appliques on the yoke or the tiny detail on the back. Johnny Was sizes run large (14-24), and this dress is crazy expensive at $475, but women pay crazy prices for a reason... nice drape, cute fit, lovely look. You will wear any piece from Johnny Was to death, but it's nice to find Johnny Was on sale.
- Rachel Pally Long Caftan Dress With Print at Rachel Pally (spring 2015): Just like Johnny Was, you will love Rachel Pally to death. You will look for reasons to wear her great modal-fabric dresses, which feel like silk. I know that $264 is a lot of money for this little maxi with a subtle feather print, but you can wear this puppy "bohemian style" with flats during the day and you can dress it up with sparkly chandelier earrings and platform sandals at night. Oooh la la. This caftan shape is Rachel Pally's best-seller for a reason, baby. It will NEVER go out of style and it PACKS like a dream. Totally worth it.
I love all maxi dresses because they give a long unbroken line from head to toe. However, use caution with all-black maxi dresses because, if they look like evening gowns, they won’t be as versatile for your gypsy-woman, exotic-vacation wanderings. All-white dresses, on the other hand, are versatile and great for every occasion except other people's weddings.
And, now for the photos above (from the original article). If you came here looking for any of these plus size maxi dresses, they are from 2012. You can find the website for each of these in the photo credits below, but it's not very likely you're gonna find 'em.... that's why I've updated this article with new photos.
More Groovy Articles for Baby Boomer Women:
Photo Credits: prshots.com.
- Main Photo: Marisota 2012.
- Boho Maxi Dress Plus Size: FashionWorld 2012.
- Tribal Print Plus Size Maxi Dress: Laredoute 2012.
- Plus Size Boho Maxi Dresses: Asos, Bonmarche, M&Co, M&S (all 2015).
- Boho Hippie-Style Maxi Dresses in Plus: Asos, East, M&S, East (all 2015).
- Plus Size Maxi Dresses - Original Article: Littlewoods, LaRedoute, Gemma Collins, LaRedoute, SimplyBe, SimplyBe.
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